World Unite! Volunteering in Zanzibar

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In Zanzibar, we arrange volunteering positions in various kindergarten and pre-schools, formal and informal schools, orphanages and social projects which realize a wide range of educational programs to create a sustainable development in local communities.

Common tasks for volunteers are:

* Support the teachers in pre-school and primary & secondary school education
* Teaching English, Maths or other subjects like Sports or Music
* Independent development and implementation of creative learning tasks and free time activities
* Play with the kids
* Child care
* Help with the daily tasks at your project
* Guide the children and youth in educational aspects such as hygiene or values such as respect, responsibility, honesty

Questions & Answers


based on 2 reviews
  • Impact 4.5
  • Support 5.5
  • Fun 4.5
  • Value 5.5
  • Safety 5.5
Showing 1 - 2 of 2
Default avatar

Please don't do this

When we booked our volunteering program through World Unite we had the feeling we would contribute something positive to the local community. As it turns out, the opposite is true. We followed language lessons, and found out our teacher only receives one fifth of the money we payed to World Unite. We wrote an email to World Unite, saying that its not fair that the teacher can't even afford electricity on her current wage, but World Unite simply said that they are not a charity.

A lot of the other people are also really not satisfied, we heard lots of stories about wasting half of the time waiting for a visa, bad working conditions etc.

My recommendation would be to try to contact local organisations like a school or a hospital, and arrange the internship directly through them. I guarantee you will be very welcome. If that is too scary, at least do it through a NGO (non-profit).

Response from World Unite!

Dear Afra,
we are very sorry that you are not happy about your stay with us in Zanzibar, but we must insist that what you write here is factually very incorrect.

The language teacher is a freelance teacher who only works a few hours per week for students that we bring to her. She also has students brought to her by other organizations and a few walk-in customers. She charges the common hourly rate that Swahili teachers charge in Zanzibar and even though we regularly bring her students, we haven't negotiated this rate with her. We pay the same amount to her that she also charges to walk-in customers.

Compared to other professionals in Zanzibar, language teachers have a good hourly income and what she makes in 2 hours will cover her monthly electricity bill.

You simply misunderstood the teacher about her rates. Her rates remain the same PER PERSON, regardless whether there are 1 or 2 or 3 students with her in a class. The hourly rates are not devided through the number of language students.

Doing simple maths, what you paid to us and what the language teachers gets from it, is almost exactly 50:50.

Why do we keep half of what the teacher receives?

The language teacher is an elderly lady who is an excellent language teacher, but she is unfamiliar with internet, email and how to find foreign clients. How would you have ever found out she is offering classes while your were still sitting in the Netherlands?

Our expenses include: a) website - technical expenses, writing and updating contents; even being on platforms like GoOverseas is not free to us! b) answering inquiries and providing information - many inquiries don't result in sales but still mean expenses for the salary of our team members who are answering emails for many hours every day; c) accounting, bookkeeping, administration etc. d) taxes and official fees which are HIGH in Zanzibar; e) international money transaction costs and currency conversion - accepting your EUR payment and sending it to Zanzibar and paying to the teacher; f) preparation for your trip to Zanzibar: individually answering all of your questions + you got a comprehensive preparation PDF that we update frequently; g) costs for phone calls, transport, time to locally arrange your language lessons; h) local staff, showing you the way to the language teacher and introducting you there; regularly meeting participants and being there as contact persons; i) we had initial costs for setting up the program in Zanzibar + regular travel costs to maintain/improve service standards etc.

What you get from us is not a mass travel product, but a tailormade program which is very labour-intensive per participant. Our margin for all of this is very little compared to the vast majority of other organizations.

Through our services, we create employment to several people including local Tanzanians and Zanzibari who are making their living from the services we provide to you.

With your attitude to get everything for free or the cheapest way possible, you are in fact destroying or hampering local economic growth. We consider it an abusive behaviour to make Zanzibar people (if anyone of a Zanzibar NGO would really do it...) arrange your stay in Zanzibar for free for you.

No, I don't recommend this program
Default avatar

A Dream of Africa

Sansibar is the most beautiful place in the world. The people are always friendly. The coordinators of world unite care for you all time: They show and explain you everything and you can call them 24hours. The island oversupply a lot: great ocean, ecxellent food (very cheap), a bautiful nature and multicultural flair. My project (school and kindergarten) was the best think I ever do. I´m still in contact with some teachers and it was a great time there. It´s a chance for your life, because you will find out an intressting and fantastic culture and country! Ialready stayed a second time in Sansibar and it was not my last.

How can this program be improved?
If you are open minded you will have the best time in your live. Sometimes there are littele problems but not because of the organisation: there are many people they can help you!
Yes, I recommend this program

About World Unite!

World Unite! is a provider of intercultural learning opportunities abroad, including Working Holiday, Student and Job Orientation Internships, Volunteering, Dissertations Abroad, Language Courses, and Cultural Travel.

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